Today in 1920, nearly 52 years after they first convened, members of the Connecticut Women’s Suffrage Association watched as the Connecticut General Assembly finally ratified the 19th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, giving all American women the right to vote.
For decades, Connecticut suffragists had picketed, petitioned, and frequently found themselves arrested as they struggled to expand American voting rights to female citizens, only to have their efforts stymied by entrenched state politicians who feared what the sudden influx of over 200,000 new women voters would do to their incumbencies. So the ratification by the Assembly represented victory for the CWSA after a long and hard-fought battle.
But from a practical standpoint, the General Assembly’s vote of September 14, 1920 was little more than a symbolic and politically expedient move: three weeks before, Tennessee had become the 36th state to ratify the 19th Amendment, ensuring its implementation at the federal level. That rendered any subsequent state votes — like Connecticut’s — effectively moot.
Nevertheless, the men-only Assembly’s vote for the 19th Amendment was seen and celebrated as a triumph by Connecticut’s long-suffering suffragists, who went on to help elect five women to the Connecticut General Assembly later that very same year. With their mission finally accomplished, the Connecticut Women’s Suffrage Association proudly voted to dissolve the group the following year.
Jessica D. Jenkins, “The Long Road to Women’s Suffrage in Connecticut,” Connecticut Explored
“19th Amendment: The Fight Over Woman Suffrage in Connecticut,” connecticuthistory.org
“Connecticut Suffragists in 1919,” connecticuthistory.org